President Trump's COVID-19 Executive Orders on Unemployment and Payroll Taxes: More Questions than Answers
To what extent may unemployment benefits be enhanced and payroll taxes be deferred, as a result of President Trump’s recently issued Executive Orders? Issued on August 8, 2020, the Orders and related Memoranda to Cabinet and Executive Agency leaders seek to extend COVID-19 relief measures to individuals and businesses by reviving prior Congressionally authorized relief measures under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act. Two of the Orders provide for partial continuation of enhanced unemployment benefits ($400 weekly) and suspended payroll tax collection. This executive branch action, however, leaves much to government agency heads in terms of implementation. Additionally, it will likely require some congressional agreement in terms of financial appropriations, as well as significant collaboration from state governments, to yield any meaningful results.